Raise the right barriers

As the employment market continues to be difficult with more graduates going for fewer jobs, employers are seeking ways to handle the increase in applicants.

I was struck by the contrast between the approaches of two retail graduate recruiters reported in the news recently. In one case, in order to reduce the number of applications they have to sift, the recruiter is said to have raised their minimum acceptable degree classification from a 2:2 to a 2:1. In the other case, they have introduced an on-line pre-screening test of situational judgement based on common work situations.

I don’t know of any research that links degree classification to one’s ability to perform as a retail manager, but there is quite a bit of research that links degree classification to socio-economic background. On the other hand, I can imagine that testing  one’s ability to think clearly about certain common work situations could correlate to job effectiveness.

I can completely understand the desire of graduate recruiters to reduce their workload when faced with a flood of applications, but I wonder if they think through all the possible unintended consequences of arbitrary grade requirement inflation. It may mean in the future that it won’t just be the professions that are disproportionately populated by the socially advantaged.

  • When visiting employers, how often do you question them about their awareness of the unintentional unfairness of their recruitment practices?

Related post: Poor students!


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  1. #1 by David Winter on 9 February 2010 - 18:42

    And now MPs are proposing to do the same sort of arbitrary grade inflation for entry to teacher training despite a singular lack of evidence that degree classification is a predictor of teaching quality.

  2. #2 by David Winter on 24 February 2010 - 07:55

    It seems some graduate recruiters are attempting to use somewhat less arbitrary criteria in response to degree grade inflation. I’m not sure that generalised IQ and Emotional Intelligence measures are the best answers, but at least they are likely to be more relevant to job performance than a 2:1.

  3. #3 by David Winter on 8 March 2010 - 21:00

    AGR urges graduate recruiters to reconsider the ‘arbitrary degree classification cut-off point’.

    But then they go and spoil it all by saying that there should be unlimited tuition fees.

    I could be wrong but that seems to be swapping indirect discrimination through grade inflation with direct elitism on the basis of ability to pay.

  4. #4 by David Winter on 9 March 2010 - 19:27

  1. Why am I here? (Part Two) « Careers – in Theory

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